Borrego Springs Century Ride & Trip Report
The Long story short: this is an area & ride you should put on your calendars.
Long story: Arrived in Borrego Springs w/RV via the geologic wonders of Box Canyon (~5mi west of Chiriaco Pass off I-10) on Thu. Set up quickly in the back-in site @ Palm Canyon RV CG just before the light rain showers started & had a great dinner of pasta/chicken w/in-laws in their RV. After a delicious breakfast on a rainy Fri morning @ the CG restaurant (no kidding! I had an asparagus, cheese & mushroom scramble!) DW & MIL attended the farmers market in DT Borrego Springs (@ Christmas Circle) & came away w/some excellent green beans, avocado tamales, peppers & a persimmon. FIL, step-son & I worked on FIL's elec issue in his RV which turned out 2B a simple main cut-off switch. All 5 of us then headed up into the hills for the lovely little town of Julian. Incredibly, we ran into snow upon entering the town but that did not deter us from having a wonderful lunch (w/fresh hot cider - of course!) & stocking up on their infamous apple cider awa an apple pie to take back to the RVs. Of course, the ladies somehow managed to find some trinkets & gee gaws to bring home for friends & relatives before we headed back down hill. Re-gathered for appetizers in our RV, than had dinner in the folk's unit (kind of like a nomad "progressive" dinner). Sat I rose early & walked down to Borrego Springs HS to work the Borrego Springs Half Marathon & thereby earn my free entry into the Century ride the next day. The marathon folks appointed me T-Shirt Czar & I attacked the chore w/relish (even though we ran out of smalls - the people rejoiced!). Spent the rest of the day putzing around the RV CG, getting the bike equip & nutrition ready & soaking in the spa.
Woke early on Sun & had a light breakfast awa pre-ride drink before hopping on the bike & heading for the registration area (again, @ Christmas Circle). At least 3 other folks from the CG were also in the ride but I only got to chat w/1 of them (Debbie - camping in a tent). Just prior to announcements @ 8:00a, I decided to shed the jacket to my team car (DW) & simply went w/arm warmers, leggings & glove liners (forgot the actual bike gloves - there's always something!). Went out @ the start w/lead group & quickly decided (w/input from my HRM) that was a mistake as even they started to split up on individual breakaways. Let another decent group pass (they were passing quick!) before settling in for the slight uphill climb to Hwy 78 (a lot like 9 mile hill in Rio Verde, AZ) for the turn-around. Did I mention that the last 300 yds or so prior to the turn around were a bit more steep than just "slight"? Passed the 1st rest stop & still couldn't seem to latch onto anyone on the way back into town but was able to keep a decent pace & got the avg up to ~16 as I made the turn toward Salton City. Here's where the Google course map faked me out a bit. I was anticipating a gradual climb w/short (1/4mi) 3% grade near the turn around. What I failed to see were the numerous "rollers" of indeterminate grade scattered all the way in between. I was consistently riding w/2 ladies (one on a tri bar, the other maintaining a brutally fast cadence) & we wd ea pass the other depending on the layout of the rd (you guessed it! They passed me on the uphills!) but we were definitely not riding together. Not sure what that was all about as I'm fairly certain I used deodorant that morning. Kept thinking I saw CG mate Debbie & called out to her a couple of times. When I saw her @ the CG later that night she rode in w/blue jacket on (the person I was calling to had a black jacket on - oops). Went past another rest stop & started thinking about doing the entire 63mi w/o stopping as I seemingly had enough water & nutrition to get me through. Extremely cruel placement of the turnaround on the San Diego county/Imperial county border, @ the bottom of a hill!! Lots of riders stretched out now but very few working together. One gentleman shot across to me from a rest stop on the opposite side of the street & asked (yes, he actually asked!) if he could ride my wheel until he caught his buddy. I said sure but I didn't believe he could ride that slow. Passed a 3rd rest stop & shortly approached the 3% grade but going downhill this time - nice! As I made the turn to loop around the town I noticed a couple of riders behind me so I sat up & cruised until they caught up & for the 1st time in the ride was working w/other riders. That lasted for ~5mi as they turned off onto what, in hindsight, turned out 2B the "short" loop. I continued through the orchards, past the last rest stop (I was pretty proud of myself by now) & into the residential neighborhoods. The legs were glad to make that last turn past the RV CG I was staying at (where was my cheering support team?) & downhill for the last mile to (you guessed it) Christmas Circle. Wow! All in one sitting, so to speak. I recorded 66.6mi (that's what I get for taking the "long" loop) @ 15.03mph avg; a couple of over-max HRs (near the start) AvgHR in the good range, & ~2900 cal burned off. Index & ring finger tips were a bit numb, maybe from not having proper gloves or maybe the temp or maybe both, but that passed quickly. The post race goodies consisted of PB/banana sandwiches, some infernal protein bars, and Apple Crumble Pie (from Julian!) w/ice cream! Even though it was barely 55 degrees outside, that pie & ice cream tasted great! Support team showed up to drive me home or it wd've been a 1mi uphill climb back to the RV. That's what they're paid the big bucks for!